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tv   Global 3000  PBS  December 10, 2014 12:30am-1:01am PST

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>> war, hunger, persecution, natural catastrophes. just some of the terrors which have forced over 50 million people to flee their homes worldwide. if displaced people were to have their own country, it would be the 24th most populous on the planet. welcome to "global 3000," and to our refugee special. the united nations are calling it the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era. after three years of civil war, over half of syria's population is dependent upon foreign aid for survival. already, over 3 million syrians have fled the violence with many more expected to follow. around half have sought refuge in turkey, with some 600,000 or
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so making for jordan. in little lebanon, the syrian refugee population has already passed the one million mark. for the moment, a return to syria is unthinkable. as tanja krämer reports from the beka'a tal in eastern lebanon, this is easier said than done. >> every day, hussein idilbi goes through the garbage looking for anything he can turn into cash. he's twelve years old. it's been two years since he fled syria with his family. he has no time to attend school. >> no, it'd be better for me to be in school and learning for my future. then i'd definitely have a better future. >> but the civil war in syria put an end to any such plans.
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now hussein makes nearly three euros a day collecting plastic and metal. his family depends on his contribution to survive. his lebanese boss, a junk dealer, feels sorry for the refugees, but he's still happy to have the cheap labor. >> the lebanese would demand more money. a syrian doesn't need as much. a lebanese would expect ten thousand lebanese pounds for this work, but a syrian will take five thousand. >> the town of saadnayel in the bekaa valley is very close to the syrian border. for most of the refugees, there are no camps -- they're left to fend for themselves. makeshift shelters are scattered everywhere in the fields. here, the refugees may be safe, but nothing else. officially, they're not allowed to work. yet they have to pay rent and utility costs.
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hussein and his family scrape by from day to day. his mother, khalidiya, says, what little aid they receive comes mainly in the form of food staples. >> we get food rations from the united nations. cooking oil, sugar, tea, some things for the children, and rice. what can i do? we have to get by on it. something is better than nothing. >> they can redeem food vouchers in town. the customers of this supermarket are mostly syrians. the storekeeper says he's very busy, and he complains about the poor economic situation in the city.
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>> the situation for the lebanese is getting worse. you can can tell by what they buy. they're not buying what they want, like they used to. >> some 14,000 inhabitants have taken in some 30,000 syrian refugees. >> the situation is really bad. there's no work, and people here aren't opening their shops. things have gotten much worse because of the syrians. >> it's our duty for us lebanese to help them. >> yes, they put a lot of strain on us, especially economically, but there's no other solution than just to help out as much as possible. >> but with very little aid coming from the capital beirut and the international community, the local residents are overwhelmed.
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abdelhadi shahimy is a community representative for saadnayel. he complains about the financial outlook. >> prices in our village have tripled. the sewage and water supply aren't working, the schools aren't adequate. we just don't have any more room. the crisis has affected everyone, and we need international help and strategies to overcome it. >> no one knows how long the conflict in the neighbouring country will go on. and yet refugees like hussein would rather be back home sooner than later. there are simply no prospects here. >> i come from there, i grew up there, and all the people i know are there.
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>> hussein and his family have resigned themselves to a long exile in lebanon, a difficult time for syrians and lebanese alike. >> a small number of other syrian refugees, under 5% have found temporary refuge in europe. there are three main roots. north africa to southern europe via the mediterranean, the eastern mediterranean route and a third one via the balkans. most boats making this journey aim for the tiny island of lampedusa, which gave its name to the 2013 catastrophe in which over 300 refugees drowned. in response, italy created the mare nostrum operation which has saved almost 100,000 lives to date. >> the italian navy ship san giorgio is on patrol in the mediterranean.
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not on the lookout not for enemy ships, but for refugees. >> possible target identified and heading 1.20. >> set course full speed ahead. as soon as the chopper's ready, we'll send it out for advance reconnaissance. >> they swiftly home in on the tiny dot in the sea. it is indeed a refugee boat. now, every minute counts. there's not much time left to complete the rescue operation before nightfall. >> are there pregnant women? how many? two? two pregnant women. where do you come from?
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syria, egypt and sudan? >> over 200 people are packed onto the old fishing boat. the san giorgio seamen throw sacks of life vests to the boat, just in case someone falls overboard. there's an element of risk. heavy seas could throw the launch against the fishing boat. the rusty hull could break apart. an interpreter tells the refugees to let the children go first, then the pregnant women. one of the pregnant women needs help. the operation drags on, and it's already getting dark. now the sun's gone down, and 170
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people remain on the fishing boat. they have to get off before the light's completely gone. the helpers have to coordinate their efforts to get the refugees onboard. one is taking the children, the other is helping the grown-ups. the current is strong, and it keeps pulling the boat away from the launch. the refugees have to be counted. and finally, they are all off the old fishing vessel. the operation is a success. the launch returns to the mothership through the narrow stern dock. the san giorgio's crew have to be extra careful. they have no way of knowing if a refugee might be carrying a contagious disease. the refugees are all searched as they come on board and then given thorough medical exams.
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piece by piece, the crew learn the details of what the refugees have been through. they paid some $3,000 each for their mediterranen voyage. and they had to swim out to the fishing boat. they were at sea for eight days and nights before they were picked up. they're all completely exhausted. now, for the first time in many days, they feel safe. at least they don't have to fear for their lives. the san giorgio sets course for sicily, where the refugees are to be set ashore.
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we know these migrants see italy as the gateway to europe. many of them already have tickets to travel on to their relatives in other european countries. but to see rescuing these people as a threat is purely egotistical, nothing else. they're people who need help, and we're helping them. and all the countries with the resources to do so have to help these people. >> these little children are asked their names. >> rakhim. >> ok. >> a nurse looks after some of them. she asks the woman what her work was in syria.
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the women says she was at university, as a lecturer. when the nurse asks what her husband did, she learns that he was the manager of four restaurants. he says that the family has nothing left in syria now, that everything is gone. their home, their jobs. their future in europe is uncertain. they don't know if they'll be allowed to stay or be sent back. a hug brings some degree of comfort, even if only for a moment. the san giorgio approaches the augusta naval base in sicily. from there, the refugees will be taken to a transit camp in syracuse, just down the coast. they set out on another leg of
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their journey into uncertainty. >> and now? now i can't speak. >> speechless in the face of an uncertain future. of the refugees who manage to make it to europe, most attempt to apply for asylum in germany, sweden or france. sweden is particularly popular because it allows refugees to apply for working visas -- something which germany does not permit. instead, refugees in germany find themselves trapped in an agonising limbo, sometimes waiting up to twenty months before their asylum application is processed. we visited a refugee hostel in berlin to find out how its residents are coping. >> they're playing a waiting game at this hostel for asylum seekers in berlin. the refugees who've made it here are sheltered and safe. but they don't know if they'll
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be allowed to stay in germany. shaikh tajuddin from pakistan has been waiting for 15 months to see if his request for asylum will be granted. everyone gathers in the kitchen. the one thing they have in common is they've all left their homelands, but for very different reasons. tajuddin comes from karachi where 2500 contract killings are carried out each year. one took place on his doorstep. >> and that's why i had to leave the country unfortunately. and it doesn't look like i can go back in the near future. >> it was an odyssey for these men just to get to germany. imad al-mustafa from syria first entered the eu through bulgaria. >> bulgaria was almost as bad as syria. but it's very different here in
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germany -- especially how they deal with children's rights. >> germany currently rejects close to 40 percent of asylum applications. and al-mustafa's could be one of them. that's because eu law states that refugees must seek asylum in the eu country in which they were first registered. and, for him, that's bulgaria. shaikh tajuddin serves the tea. families are allotted the biggest rooms in the hostel. imad al-mustafa's family was torn apart when they fled syria. he only found his wife, mary, two months later. >> at home we heard that the germans are very friendly and have sympathy for war refugees. >> al-mustafa says they're still waiting to be reunited with two of their children, who have been
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located in a refugee camp in turkey. they envision what their future might look like in germany. but they'll only be allowed to work if and when they're granted asylum. shaikh tajuddin had his own business in pakistan. he tells us he can't stand sitting around with nothing to do. >> i am very useful myself. i am good for the community, good for the people and i have so much to give you back to this society. >> and, a few days a month, he's able to do just that. then tajuddin whips up pakistani dishes as part of an initative in which refugees and germans cook and eat a meal together. for 35 euros per person, guests get a crash course in pakistani cuisine from shaikh tajuddin.
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>> it's almost the same recipe. we need fried onion, we need yogurt. >> ninon demuth is one of the co-founders of the project. >> we simply noticed that we learn so little about the people who come to germany to start a new life. and that these people don't really get the chance to know us either. for us, cooking is a great way to bring these two parallel societies together -- refugees and germans -- and make them one. >> the initiative from berlin has now expanded to cologne, hamburg, and munich. what started as a university project is now a major enterprise. with help from crowdfunding, the organizers are bringing out a second cookbook. while dinner is cooking in the oven, there's time to chat. the guests want to know more
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about tajuddin. they ask why he had to flee karachi. >> and there is a reason, like a lot of gangs, a lot of dirty politics. the main thing in pakistan at this moment is there is no justice. >> chicken, lentils, rice and flatbread. folks are lining up to give it a try. >> when these project people, ninon and bantu, came to me, i found that this is a good way to interact with the community. but yes -- i've started the journey in the heim and i'm still in the heim. >> evenings like this are a nice way to pass the time. but tajuddin hopes that, some day, one of the guests will give him a job as a cook. >> i wonder whether pumpkins are on his menu?
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there's a lot to be said for pumpkins, especially if you're living in a country in which climate change is destroying your farmland and preventing you from growing your traditional crops. the country in question is bangladesh, where the flooding of two mighty tributaries to the ganges delta has already forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. as the nation set to be worst hit by climate change in the coming decades, bangladesh has had to come up with some innovative ways of helping its people to adapt. >> a sandstorm blasts through gaibandha in a rural part of northern bangladesh. people here are still waiting for the first rains after the dry season. they need fresh water for their cattle. agricultural scientists kamal hossain and nirmal bepary from the development organization
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practical action know how vulnerable the local people are to the elements. climate change is making an age-old problem in bangladesh even worse. >> if we visit here in next june-july, we will see there is water and water and there is water. so the big challenge is that time we need water, we have no water, but when there is water we have nothing to do with the water. >> when the water comes, it inundates entire regions. the ganges and the brahmaputra, both huge rivers at any time of the year, burst their banks, flooding wide tracts of land. then there are the dreaded cyclones. the extreme weather conditions rob people of their homes, their farming land, and even their lives. the desparately longed-for rain becomes a curse. a boat trip on the brahmaputra reveals the extent of the
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erosion. the floodwaters eat away at the banks of the river and it's not uncommon for whole sections to collapse. but the country's population of 160 million needs every available inch of fertile land to live. khoka mia is over 70 years old. he has seen many floods in his lifetime. he was once a prosperous farmer with his own rice paddies. he has six sons and many grandchildren. but the floods caused huge problems for khoka mia and he often struggled to feed his family. >> i lost everything to floods eleven times. they swept my fields, my house. each time we moved to a new area and started over from scratch. but then came the next flood and destroyed everything again.
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again and again, eleven times in all. two years ago, we came here. the floods have turned us into refugees. >> farmers who worked the land were left with flood plains. but now a new method has been found to make sandy areas fertile. the farmers dig holes in the sand. they add cow dung and plant a crop that is now providing a livelihood for thousands of people -- pumpkin. nirmal bepary has been testing this method for years. now, nearly a hundred sandbanks that were once unfertile are supporting pumpkin plantations, farmed by people who lost their land to floodwaters. >> pumpkin especially we have selected because farmers can easily grow this pumpkin. they know the cultivating techniques. it is almost easier, number one.
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number two, this pumpkin, in many of the vegetables, only pumpkin we can store wihtout cold storage. it is easily we can store it in the farmers' house for a long time even one year. >> khoka mia, who had lost everything, is now able to earn a living. because the pumpkins keep for so long, he's able to sell them throughout the months where there is no harvest to maintain his income. he gets the equivalent of 15 euro cents for each pumpkin he sells. he harvested nearly a thousand last year. the pumpkins are his capital, the basis of his business. >> i can't tell you how much my life and the life of my family has improved. last year i sold my entire pumpkin harvest and used the money to lease land which now gives me additional income.
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i haven't been able to buy a cow yet, but i'm hoping i'll be able to this year. things look good. i hope i can buy one or two cows and then finally renovate my house and lease more land. >> but the future remains uncertain. a lot will depend on how climate change continues to affect conditions in bangladesh. >> we think climate change is a bigger issue. every year the erosion is increasing, there is big challenge. so if we make a good plan for sandbank cropping, crops, then i think it will be managed. >> the first storms herald the beginning of the rainy season.
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people here are once again hoping they'll survive the difficult months ahead. the effects of climate change will continue to pose a challenge for bangladesh. but perhaps the solutions found here could serve as a role model for other parts of the world. >> pumpkin power bringing us to the end of this edition of "global 3000." there's more information on our website and facebook. until next week, thanks for watching and goodbye.
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steves: gibraltar stands like a fortress, a gateway to the mediterranean. a stubborn little piece of old england, it's one of the last bits of a british empire
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that at one time controlled a quarter of the planet. the rock itself seems to represent stability and power. and as if to remind visitors that they've left spain and entered the united kingdom, international flights land on this airstrip, which runs along the border. car traffic has to stop for each plane. still, entering gibraltar is far easier today than back when franco blockaded this border. from the late 1960s until the '80s, the only way in was by sea or air. now you just have to wait for the plane to taxi by, and bob's your uncle. the sea once reached these ramparts. a modern development grows into the harbor, and today half the city is built upon reclaimed land. gibraltar's old town is long and skinny, with one main street. gibraltarians are a proud bunch, remaining steadfastly loyal to britain.
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its 30,000 residents vote overwhelmingly to continue as a self-governing british dependency. within a generation, the economy has gone from one dominated by the military to one based on tourism. but it's much more than sunburned brits on holiday. gibraltar is a crossroads community with a jumble of muslims, jews, hindus, and italians joining the english, and all crowded together at the base of this mighty rock. with its strategic setting, gibraltar has an illustrious military history, and remnants of its martial past are everywhere. the rock is honeycombed with tunnels. many were blasted out by the brits in napoleonic times. during world war ii, britain drilled 30 more miles of tunnels. the 100-ton gun is one of many cannon that both protected gibraltar and controlled shipping in the strait. a cable car whisks visitors from downtown to the rock's 14,000-foot summit.
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from the top of the rock, spain's costa del sol arcs eastward, and 15 miles across the hazy strait of gibraltar, the shores of morocco beckon. these cliffs and those over in africa created what ancient societies in the mediterranean world called the pillars of hercules. for centuries, they were the foreboding gateway to the unknown. descending the rock, whether you like it or not, you'll meet the famous apes of gibraltar. 200 of these mischief-makers entertain tourists. and with all the visitors, they're bold, and they get their way. yeah? you can ha you can -- you can -- you can -- here on the rock of gibraltar, the locals are very friendly, but give them your apples. legend has it that as long as these apes are here, the british will stay in gibraltar.
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